We’ve all heard that computers in China are unable to access many of the websites which Americans find irreplaceable: Facebook, Google and Twitter are three websites that you constantly see around you. Facebook is one of the most visited websites in the world–not just that it gets visited, people tend to stay on their Facebook page for a good amount of time before moving on to other things, periodically checking it throughout the day.
Chinese users, however, have to go through miles and miles of red tape just to access these websites that are so commonly used by everyone else. The Chinese have to set up firewalls and proxys, feigning an American or an English IP address to avoid the omniscient eye of the government. Microsoft’s application “Skype” is used to bridge the gap between users. Despite the physical distance, Skype allows people to make real time calls and text chat all over the world. Skype is partnered with TOM–a Chinese company. When trying to access Skype in China, the browser brings you to a TOM owned page displaying the same, iconic blue logo. The catch is that there are certain keywords–Tianamen Square, Facebook, Twitter, Communist Party–that will set of an alarm and subject the user to surveillance.
If you are skyping with someone in China, you might also be subjected to surveillance if you happen to be talking about any of these keywords. What do you think Microsoft should do in response?